Maybe it’s just the summer heat but I get the feeling that, finally, people are focusing on software tools that really make working on a computer easier. Sure this has been the case for a while, but these companies seem to actually stick around long enough to make some money. So they have to be doing something right.
Take saving addresses, for example. It’s a simple concept: See a guy’s name and address in an email, on a website or in a document you’d like to save, and what do you have to do? Fiddly copying the text, and then, line by line, pasting it into Outlook or whatever. Yuck. It’s faster to go round to the guy’s house with your laptop, knock on his door and ask him to type in the details himself.
A few years’ back there was a great little company called Cognitive Root which had a program called Syncplicity, which tried to figure out from any text you copied what was the name, the address, the phone number etc, and copy it all into the right fields in your Palm Desktop. I raved about the product back in January 2001, which seems to have been enough to ensure it was consigned to the dot.com bin, since I can find no trace of the company or the product on any recent website. Sorry about that, guys.
Still, don’t despair: other companies have since taken up the banner. And they look like they’ll be around for a while. There’s Anagram, which does pretty much the same thing for Palm and Outlook, and, more importantly, has on its website a photo of a left-handed businesswoman not using a mousepad, chewing her glasses and staring wistfully into the middle distance having saved herself oodles of time using the product.
Then there’s AddressGrabber, which does something similar but also works with ACT!, GoldMine and stuff like that. I’ve fiddled with both AddressGrabber and Anagram and for my needs the latter works ($20) fine. But if you’re a serious address grabbing kind of dude, maybe you want to splash out ($70 to $250) for the former. Both work with salesforce.com.